New Releases: Beneath Us All (2023) - Reviewed

Image courtesy of Painted Creek 

Beneath Us All is an indie horror which has a great premise – a Viking vampire!
Sadly, this unique hook is never explored in the film, save for the introductory scene. However, Beneath Us All does deliver some good performances and excellent cinematography that make up for such a small wasted opportunity.

The plot revolves around a teenage foster kid, Julie and her unsettling, albeit accidental unearthing of an unspeakable evil that soon brings a dark influence over Julie’s already rocky family life.
Beneath Us All is directed by talented Swedish-American director and actor, Harley Wallen, known for 2022’s Ash and Bone and 2023’s The Devil’s Left Hand, among a slew of acting and directing credits…and it shows. The direction and cinematography in Beneath Us All is very impressive while the setting creates an air of apprehension all by itself, perfect for a horror movie.
The film might disappoint somewhat if you are looking for an explicit slay-fest, which makes it good horror for younger audiencesMake-up effects are great, but the attacks are basedmore on suggestion than the depraved mutilation expected of a debauched and ravenous vampire seething with evil.
Apart from some scenes opening without proper transition, the film does quickly establish its characters and circumstances. It takes a bit too long to get to the fang action it promises in the opening scene, thoughThere are little things that might irk the more critical viewer, such as how an undead Viking would surface in the United States after a thousand years and speak flawless English to his charge. On the other hand, this matters little in the total view of the movie.
The adult cast is solid and carries the story well with an ensemble of underground horror stars we love to feast on. Beneath Us All reunites two beloved actors from the cult classic, The People Under the Stairs after 32 years! Sean Whalen stars as the abusive, gambler foster dad and Yan Birch as the Scandinavian scourge, Frey. Both actors are great to watch, bringing charisma to their roles.

Maria Olsen plays a more docile character in this film, though she maintains that brooding malice that she is so well known for in films like I Spit on Your Grave: Déjà Vu and Pretty Boy (2021). Harley Wallen and his wife, Kaiti Wallen also feature in their actors’ caps and deliver good performances respectively, unlike the younger cast.
Main character Julie is played by budding star Angelina Danielle Cama, who has also worked on a few of Wallen’sprevious projects. Sadly, Julie’s reaction to the villain is not even close to authentic and it makes it difficult to believe her character’s plight. She is just too rigid and unthinkably naïve throughout the filmquite detached from her female siblings for some reason.
Again, Beneath Us All had the opportunity to cast a Goonies-level young bunch to deal with the vampire, but alas, such prospective shenanigans went unexplored. It would have made the already gore-safe viewing a bit more exciting for die-hard bloodsucker audiences.
All considered, Beneath Us All is well worth a watch. It holds up well in pace and atmosphere as long as you do not expect a blood-soaked orgy or some deviant Viking vampire methods to pop up. It is a fun indie with high-end production, great direction and feel. Once it bares its teeth, it killin all the good ways.

—Tasha Danzig